The Path to Environmental Sustainability

Capital Metro is in the process of making some positive changes when it comes to environmental sustainability. We have a group of six employees (including myself) that are participating in training from the Environmental Management System Institute conducted by Virginia Tech University. Capital Metro was selected by the Federal Transit Administration to participate in the program this year, which is supported and funded by the FTA.

The training is an exhaustive year-long process that includes site visits from instructors, four training sessions, multiple conference calls and a substantial amount of homework. After the training, Capital Metro will be positioned to implement an Environmental Sustainability Management System (ESMS) in compliance with the International Standard Organization (ISO) 14001, resulting in environmental improvements and significant reductions in operating costs.  Read more about the program.

What’s an ESMS? Well, it’s a set of management processes and procedures that will help us to analyze, control and reduce the environmental impact of our activities and services and operate with greater efficiency.

Our first order of business was to draft an environmental policy that clearly states our commitment to environmental law requirements and green business practices. Capital Metro’s policy, which is still going through an internal approval process, will help guide all employees and contractors in continually improving operations that impact the environment.

We are beginning our ESMS program by targeting two areas that we feel need some improvement. First, we plan to reduce water usage at our headquarters location, specifically focusing on the bus wash. There’s no better time than during one of the worst droughts in recent history. Additionally, we’ll work towards reducing unnecessary vehicle idling at our headquarters to reduce emissions and fuel costs.

Implementing an ESMS is no small feat. This program will help Capital Metro save money and improve its environmental stewardship, benefiting both the agency and the community.

As our program develops, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on our progress.

Perry and Todd talk shop on the flight back to Austin.

The ESMS Team:

Todd Hemingson, VP of strategic planning and development; Perry Dillard,  quality assurance coordinator for building maintenance; Felix “Chico” Cantu, master mechanic; Jenn Golech, transportation planner; Catherine Peterson, senior administrative assistant, and Misty Whited, communications specialist.

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